Travis Kelce felt surrounded. Kansas City's All-Pro tight end was at home in Cleveland, but also in enemy territory as he played in a softball charity game against several Browns players. The event was hosted by Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry, who convinced teammates Baker Mayfield, Odell Beckham Jr. and Myles Garrett to participate. Kelce feels the Browns are “neck and neck” with the Chiefs, the two-time defending AFC champions. Cleveland will open the 2021 season in Kansas City, where the Browns' 2020 season ended with a playoff loss.
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Odell Beckham Jr.’s knee looks fine for football. His softball swing needs work. The Browns wide receiver, who suffered a season-ending knee injury last season, took partin teammate Jarvis Landy’s charity softball event, which drew 7,000 fans and included Cleveland stars Myles Garrett and Baker Mayfield as well as Kansas City Chiefs All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce. Beckham struggled in the home-run hitting contest, popping up several pitches and missing a few, but Landry reported that his speedy teammate looked fully recovered when they worked out together this past week in Austin, Texas.
Giselle Juarez threw her second consecutive complete game and Oklahoma won its fifth national championship, beating Florida State 5-1 in the Women’s College World Series. The Sooners had lacked a dominant pitcher heading into the series but Juarez answered the call, allowing one run on two hits in the decisive Game 3. Oklahoma won Game 2 6-2 behind Juarez, who went 5-0 at the World Series and was named Most Outstanding Player. She allowed four runs in 31 1/3 innings. The top-seeded Sooners dropped a stunner to James Madison in the series' opening game, but recovered to beat the Dukes and then got past Florida State after dropping Game 1.
Jocelyn Alo’s go-ahead homer in the sixth inning helped Oklahoma beat Florida State 6-2 on Wednesday night and force a decisive Game 3 for the Women’s College World Series title. Alo' s homer gave the Sooners the Division I single-season record for home runs with 159. Giselle Juarez improved to 4-0 in the tournament and has allowed just three earned runs in 24 1/3 innings. The deciding game will be played Thursday afternoon. Oklahoma is seeking its fifth national championship. Florida State is trying for its second title in four years.
College softball coaches are questioning the format and scheduling of the Women's College World Series. Oklahoma coach Patty Gasso notes the women's event is crammed into about a week while the men can play their series over nearly two weeks. The issue of equality at NCAA championship events has been a topic all spring. It was raised during the March Madness tournaments and again during the women's volleyball tournament in April.
Kalei Harding homered and drove in four runs, leading Florida State past No. 1 seed Oklahoma 8-4 in the opener of the Women’s College World Series championship. Sydney Sherrill added a two-run single during a five-run fourth inning for the Seminoles, who need a victory on Wednesday or Thursday to win their second NCAA title in four years. Kaley Mudge had three hits for Florida State, increasing her WCWS total to a record-tying 13. Seminoles ace Kathryn Sandercock got the final four outs for the save. Oklahoma scored two runs in the fourth inning and two more in the sixth after falling behind 7-0.
Giselle Juarez struck out 11 in another stellar performance, helping top-seeded Oklahoma beat Odicci Alexander and James Madison 7-1 in a Women’s College World Series semifinal. Behind Alexander’s pitching, unseeded James Madison beat Oklahoma on the opening day of the tournament Thursday to move the Sooners into the losers bracket. Oklahoma won two games on Saturday, then beat James Madison on Sunday to force the winner-take-all game for a spot in the championship series. The crowd of mostly Oklahoma fans gave a tearful Alexander a standing ovation in the fifth inning when she was replaced.
Former Colorado Rockies sluggers Larry Walker and Vinny Castilla will play in the All-Star celebrity softball game following the Futures Game at Denver’s Coors Field on July 11 along with Cy Young Award winner CC Sabathia, former All-Star Hunter Pence and Olympic gold medal softball player Jennie Finch. Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf and San Antonio Spurs guard Derrick White also will play in the game. Rosters will include wrestler The Miz, actors Ross Butler and Charles Melton, singer Kane Brown, rappers JID, Quavo and Residente, dancer JoJo Siwa, television host Karamo and DJ Steve Aoki.
Mike Candrea is retiring after winning eight national championships and amassing more wins than any coach in college softball history during 36 years at Arizona. Candrea won 1,674 games during a career that spanned four decades, leading the Wildcats to 24 Women’s College World Series appearances and 19 conference championships. He coached 50 All-Americans at Arizona and won gold and silver medals with Team USA. Arizona went 41-15 this season and was knocked out of the College World Series with losses to Florida State and Alabama.